"The whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Darth Dane, Apr 9, 2003.

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  1. Darth Dane Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2000
    star 4

    Inspired by the thread about money, I came aware that the Us courts is also in violation to the founding fathers idea.

    The Us is based on the fact that all religions(belief systems) are equal.

    How can an atheist be included in teh Us courts?
    An atheist doesn't believe in God. Is he unable to tell the truth then? Or will he tell the truth because he wants too?
    How can we ascertain?

    I believe the reason the bible is in courtrooms, is to scare people. They are saying "Be truthful, God is watching and hearing your every word. If you lie, you will go to hell"

    Quite the sentence eh? God doesn't wants to reign with fear, but with Love.


    It seems that God is involved with two activities.

    God is a merchant through money, in the name of God we have money in teh Us.

    God is, whether or not you believe in God, the judge in courtrooms.


    God has been imposed to people that doesn't nessacarily wants a part of God in this sense.


    Should teh bible leave the courtroom?




    DD - Love Spliff

  2. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    You don't have to swear on the Bible. It's what's generally done, since most people will claim some religion, and they think it means something to swear in the name of God. You are permitted to affirm rather than swear if you choose to do so. You can also choose not to do or say anything at all.
  3. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    It's also very interesting, since the U.S., although a secular government, has protestant Christian roots. And in the new testament Jesus speaks against swearing oaths in God's name. In other words, swearing on the Bible seems in essence a violation of Christian doctrine.
  4. Darth Dane Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2000
    star 4

    In other words, swearing on the Bible seems in essence a violation of Christian doctrine.

    How quaint

    [face_laugh]




    DD - Love Spliff

  5. Jediflyer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2001
    star 5
    The courts are not in violation of the founding fathers' idea, Darth Dane. In fact, it is the current interpertation of the first amendment that is in contradiction to the founding fathers' idea of freedom of religion.

    Look at basically any government building from that time, and it will have a reference to God somewhere in it. The founding fathers constantly mentioned God in there speeches and goals.

    Also, how do you think this came to be. Did some radically conservative religious group manage to get the court to include the oath on the bible behind the founding father's backs. I don't think so. The founding fathers knew very well that it was there, but they took no action against it.
  6. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    Witnesses also must swear, or affirm, not just the guilty:

    Bailiff: "Place you right hand in the air, your left on this bible. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"

    Athiest Witness: "I do."

    Judge: "The witness has perjured himself. Sentencing will be on Thursday..."

    Very nice. ;)


  7. Darth Dane Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2000
    star 4

    Cheveyo made the example.

    How can you, given the religious fervor in teh US, believe in a man that doesn't believe in God?

    How can we trust him?

    and if an atheist does sear on the bible, he is in violation of his own words.



    DD - Love Spliff

  8. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    As Mastadge said, you don't have to swear that you're telling the truth in God's name if you don't want to. I don't understand what the issue is here.
  9. Darth Dane Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2000
    star 4

    I just thought that it was a requirement, but I see I was mistaken :p

    Why do they need the bible there, if it is not nessacary?




    DD - Love Spliff

  10. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Witnesses also must swear, or affirm, not just the guilty:

    In our judicial process . . . do the words "innocent until proven guilty" mean anything to you? ;)

    How can you, given the religious fervor in teh US, believe in a man that doesn't believe in God?

    Hrm? So a potential criminal is more likely to be an honest person if he claims to be God-fearing than if he claims not to believe in God at all? Plenty of people in all religions are liars, as are plenty of atheists. A person's religious beliefs have little to do with whether or not that person is a liar. I myself believe there is no God, and I also believe that honesty is very important.

    and if an atheist does sear on the bible, he is in violation of his own words.

    No he's not. It's not like he's swearing against his religion -- just that he's swearing on something that holds no significane. It would be like swearing on a Calvin and Hobbes book. Not a violation of any sorts -- just pointless.

    Why do they need the bible there, if it is not nessacary?

    Because a great many people do believe in the Bible. Because just because something isn't necessary doesn't mean it's not useful. Because it makes a lot of people more comfortable. And because there's the off chance that a person will be God-fearing enough to take the oath more seriously if it's been made on a Bible.
  11. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    Gotta love those politicians; especially those who don't understand the laws they are supposed to be legislating! ;)

    Circa 2001:
    During the debate on [Attorney General John] Ashcroft's nomination, Senator Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) made some truly offensive comments, calling into question the trustworthiness of Atheists and Humanists. Quoting from the official Congressional Record, Senator Byrd said:

    "I am for Mr. Ashcroft . I praise him, if he has a religion that he is willing to stand up for. I am not suggesting that he is going to use that in one way or the other as he has to deal with problems that will come before him as Attorney General, but I would much rather believe a man who puts his hand on that Bible and swears to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, I would feel safer believing that that individual will adhere to his oath than I will have faith in an individual who has no manifestation of religion whatsoever or who has no religion.

    Here is a man who puts his hand on the Bible, the book our fathers and mothers read, and swears an oath before Almighty God and man. When he says that while he was a Senator he enacted laws but when he becomes Attorney General he won't enact laws any longer, he will enforce the laws, I should think that it would be cynical not to take that man at his word. What else can we demand? A pound of flesh?"



    And here is some legal advice for not "swearing":
    If you are requested to swear, regardless of the particular circumstances, and it
    is contrary to your religious convictions, we would suggest that you merely inform the
    person that you will affirm to tell the truth. Our experience has been that this is nearly
    always satisfactory.

    Many states already allow by statute, or case law, alternatives to the traditional
    ?swearing in.? Federal Rules of Evidence 603, for example, only requires a witness to
    ?declare that (the witness) will testify truthfully, by oath or affirmation administered in a
    form calculated to awaken the witness? conscience and impress the witness with the
    duty to do so.?

    While courts may allow more individualized types of ?affirmations,? we suggest
    that you stick with the alternative language allowed by your particular court, if that
    language is acceptable to you.

    Most cases addressing the issue of swearing arise out of erroneous contempt
    or similar citations where a judge is surprised by a witness? refusal to agree to the
    usual oath. Therefore, if you know you will be expected to be ?sworn in? in some
    proceeding, it is always a good idea for you (or your attorney) to meet with the court
    clerk, or court reporter (who would administer the ?oath?) ahead of time, so that the
    appropriate language can be used when you are called on. This should avoid a
    ?scene,? antagonism, or undue disruption of the proceeding.

    If there is any problem whatsoever, we suggest you refer the Court to the
    federal appellate court decision in the case of United States v. Looper, 419 F.2d 1405
    (4th Cir. 1969). In that case, the court held that the defendant ?need not put his hand
    on the Bible or raise his right hand and appeal to God, but only (needed to) make a
    statement which impresses upon the mind and conscience the necessity for telling
    the truth.?

    You could also cite the cases of Gordon v. State of Idaho, 778 F.2d 1397 (9th
    Cir. 1985) which held that there is no need for any formal vow of honesty before a
    witness (in that case a deposition) testifies and Ferguson v. Commissioner of Internal
    Revenue, 921 F.2d 588 (5th Cir. 1991), where refusal to ?swear? or even ?affirm? in a
    tax court hearing was upheld.



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